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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Barcelona’s Xavi fears ‘long’ injury absences for Frenkie de Jong and Pedri

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez fears midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri could face long spells on the sidelines.

Both players departed injured during the first half of Barca’s scoreless draw at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening in La Liga.

De Jong, 26, was stretchered off after appearing to sustain an ankle injury from landing awkwardly following an aerial duel, before Pedri also had to make way — in tears — after sustaining a muscular injury following an attempted pass.

“The injuries to Pedri and Frenkie do not look good,” Xavi told reporters after the game. “It is very unfortunate. They look like they will miss several games and could be out for a long time. Between today and tomorrow we’ll know more.

“These are two very important players for us, and it seems like they will now be out for several matches, perhaps a long time. We have to hope it is less than we fear, but it is tremendous misfortune for us.”

A tearful Pedri was forced off through injury in Bilbao (Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images))

Barcelona are next in action at home to Mallorca in La Liga on Friday night before hosting Napoli in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie four days later. The first leg was drawn 1-1 in Naples last month.

Barca remain third in La Liga, one point behind Girona and eight behind league leaders Real Madrid. Having been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercopa, Europe is their one remaining hope of cup glory this season.

Pedri, 21, has seen muscular problems severely curtail his availability for Barcelona in recent seasons.

“We have to give him a lot of love and support for him to return,” Xavi added of the midfielder. “We will be by his side. We have to help him come back stronger.”

Speaking of the performance and result, Xavi added: “We did not play a good match. It is a missed opportunity. We could have done better.”

Barcelona are already without Gavi for the remainder of the campaign after the midfielder tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in November.

(Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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